15 Jun How we helped fund the Wareham Forest restoration project

Whilst world leaders recently met in the UK for the G7 summit to discuss the challenges facing the world because of climate change, DPD UK continue to work towards becoming the most sustainable parcel delivery firm in the world. Our ongoing commitment to clean, green delivery is borne out through a number of initiatives. One of these is the DPD Eco Fund, which is now helping to fund the restoration of Wareham Forest in Dorset. Here’s what’s happening.

Sustainable parcel delivery firm DPD funds the restoration of Wareham Forest

A year ago a fire decimated Wareham Forest. It burned for two straight weeks before it was fully extinguished and caused devastating damage to woodland, wildlife and heathland.

The fire started on 18 May 2020 due to someone failing to extinguish a disposable barbecue or campfire, according to investigators. Critical habitats for all kinds of wildlife were completely wiped out in the fire that scorched and destroyed an area equivalent to the size of 350 football pitches.

Wareham Forest is an important site for the preservation of wildlife of all kinds. In fact, it’s such a stronghold for precious biodiversity, more than a third of its 3,700 acres is an official Site of Special Scientific Industry (SSSI). One of the only places in the country that’s home to all six of our native reptiles, the forest is also home to numerous rare insects and birds.

So, where do we come in? When Forestry England launched its fundraising appeal asking for financial assistance to restore the damaged area, DPD UK got involved. We made a significant donation from the DPD Eco Fund, which is there for precisely this reason.

DPD Eco Fund is one strand of a wide-ranging sustainability policy

Part of our wide-ranging sustainability policy, the DPD Eco Fund is funded by our environmentally focused circular economy initiative. Here’s how it works. We break down all of the plastic shrink wrap used throughout the company’s hub operations. This is then recycled by a partner company into new, usable plastic shrink wrap.

We also recycle and reuse all of the wooden pallets throughout all of our depots. The money generated from both of these initiatives goes into the DPD Eco Fund, which is then used to back all kinds of sustainable, ecological and green projects that benefit the environment.

Since the Eco Fund was launched in January 2020, we’ve donated more than £220,000 to projects up and down the country. The Waltham Forest project is the latest to benefit from our donations.

The money is backing a number of initiatives aimed at restoring the forest. These include buying a heavy-duty collector and mower that can create firebreaks by removing vegetation that could fuel future fires. Our donation has also funded planting 79,000 new trees.

Why Wareham Forest is such a special place for wildlife

Forestry England is working on an ongoing restoration project to repair the damaged wildlife habitats, heathland and forest in Wareham Forest. Our Head of Corporate Sustainable Responsibility (CSR) Olly Craughan has made a site visit to the team at Wareham Forest to find out about the progress being made and to scope the site out for potential volunteer work for DPD UK staff later in the year.

Olly says: “Wareham Forest is a very special place, and it was fantastic to visit and find out first-hand about the ongoing work. I’m delighted the Eco Fund has helped in such a significant way. It’s important now for us to feedback to everyone at DPD about how we can all make a massive difference by working more sustainably. I’m very grateful to Forestry England for inviting us and am hoping we can work together on other initiatives up and down the country.”

Forestry England CEO Mike Seddon thanked DPD for the support from the Eco Fund, saying: “… [it] is giving us a chance to sensitively restore the unique landscape of Wareham Forest.”

By working in partnership with DPD, Forestry England is replanting trees that were lost in the fire. Other aspects of the restoration include creating new open areas of heathland wildlife habitat. Mike says: “It’s this careful balance that will give a mix of wildlife the chance to thrive. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with DPD and seeing Wareham Forest flourish.”

DPD UK’s approach to sustainability is wide-ranging and encompasses a number of ongoing initiatives. Olly explains: “It’s not just about the 1,700 DPD electric vehicles (EVs) we’ll see on the road by the end of 2021. It’s about making everything we do that bit smarter and more sustainable. It’s also about seeking out opportunities that can complete the loops of circular economies.”

The DPD Eco Fund works alongside other green initiatives such as ReLOVE. This project is in partnership with ASOS and offers customers the opportunity to donate clothing. This is picked up by DPD drivers directly from their doorstep and delivered to one of the five UK charities in the scheme. Find out more about ReLOVE and the rest of the DPD Green initiatives here.